3 Essential Communications Skills Every Advisor Should Master


1. Brevity

We’re all busy.

The same questions are always being asked. Every business person, financial advisors included, has a specific canon of questions they’re (incessantly) asked, and it’s likely that your questioner is aware of this fact. Have your answers ready. Craft them thoughtfully and honestly, but have them (loosely) memorized.

Be brief.

When somebody asks you for your “story,” or “why you’re an advisor” don’t um and ah over which details are relevant, just have a response prepared (these responses should take less than 2 minutes to recount, by the way). When a client asks you about the firm you work for, have that answer ready, too. Don’t waste somebody’s time thinking about questions that should have zero-pause answers.

2. Consolation

Most people get upset, anxious, nervous, or angry.

In fact, most people experience these emotions somewhat regularly. Because money is a trigger for many emotions (negative and positive), and you deal with other people’s money, you best be prepared to deal with the resulting swings in emotion.

Be prepared to console your clients.

Whether a person asks for it or not, most people want to be consoled–they want to feel better–even if they don’t say so at first. When sensationalist news stories freak out your clients and they call you screaming, you need to be able to calm and console. Let them blow off some steam, be the listener. When that’s done, calmly explain the situation, and why things will be alright.

3. Admittance

You’re going to be wrong.

You will say something that isn’t true, you will give bad advice; you will make mistakes. There is no avoiding this. However, so long as your intentions are good, being wrong isn’t a cardinal sin. Quite the opposite, actually; being wrong is essential to your growth. Lying, cheating, misleading… these are sins. Messing up isn’t.

Don’t be stubborn or arrogant, admit when you’re wrong.

Whether it’s a client, a coworker, or a neighbor, admitting when you are wrong will almost always be the right move long-term. There may be some initial backlash (probably in the form of verbal abuse), but once the dust has settled, you will appear more honest, trustworthy, likeable, and maybe even smarter than before. As a bonus tip, sharing a lesson-learned story will increase the speed (and quality) of your recovery.

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DJ is a freelance writer, hopeful photographer, and social media has-been. He writes to financial advisors about lifehacks, science, technology, business and marketing for Blueleaf, a software that helps create dramatically simpler, more scalable financial advisory businesses. You can find DJ across the web (about.me/djswitz) or you can just follow him on Twitter (@djswitz)!
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